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A NIGHT INSIDE THE GREAT PYRAMID     63
but pleasant. I endured it for the sake of examining the tunnel's terminus. After penetrating nearly twenty yards into the rock I found it ended abruptly; apparently this tunnel, too, had never been finished.
Nearly suffocated, I groped my way back and returned to the airless Pit, took a final glance around the room, and began my return journey to the upper regions of the Pyramid. When I reached the beginning of the low passage, which sloped upwards in a perfectly, straight line for three hundred and fifty feet of solid rock before it continued as a built-up corridor, traversing the masonry, I stretched myself out on the floor and gazed up through the open exit into the darkened sky, as through a giant lens-less telescope. There, an easily seen twinkling silver point in indigo-blue space, was the Pole Star. I checked the direction by a wrist-compass, which indicated dead north. Those early builders had not only done a massive job but an accurate one.
I crawled back through the steep passage and reached, at length, the level corridor which conducts into the Queen's Chamber. A score or more paces and I stood under its inclined arch roof, which meets in a ridge in the middle. I examined the two ventilating shafts which slant upwards from the northern and southern walls. Here was clear proof that the room had never been a tomb, but was intended to be used. Many have been puzzled by the circumstance of the discovery of these shafts, in 1872, when it was found that they stopped five inches short of the Chamber itself and apparently were not originally cut right through the walls. In their discovered state, therefore, they could not admit air; so it is thought that they had some other and unknown use. But the best explanation is that the time came when they had served their purpose and, like the rest of the upper passages of the Pyramid, were completely sealed at their orifices by new stone blocks.
Waynman Dixon, a civil engineer then employed on some works near the Pyramid, chanced to discover these air tubes while examining the walls of the Queen's Chamber out of curiosity.. He noticed that one wall, which sounded hollow at a particular spot, also seemed slightly cracked. He had the spot broken into and five inches from the surface found a small shaft; then, by the same process, he discovered its mate on the opposite wall of the Chamber. Both shafts extend right through the body of the Pyramid: this has lately been proved by means